The final pricing method that is the ultimate decider “what the market will bear.”
The last and perhaps the ultimate way to figure a photograph’s price is “what the market will bear.” The must answer question for this is “for someone seeking a photograph of their jewelry or product or person how much are they willing to pay or what is it ultimately worth of the photo to them?” This ultimate marketing question they teach graduate business school classes on so to much to try and answer completely here. If you want to know it all sign up for an MBA program and all will be revealed. But here are some simple “fly by the seat of your pants” ideas. The basic of this is your supply and demand situation (in economics photography is considered a sick industry – easy entry, easy exit so easy for a lot of people to get into it and easy to fail and get out). Also this is your “everything is negotiable” situation. You can do a nice job of figuring out what you need to make for your hourly or day rate but if no one will pay that much because they can get it for less elsewhere you will go out of business. To stay in business you must figure and charge at least your minimum hourly or day rate price. This also applies for usage fees. There are a lot of factors playing against this right now and those factors will prevent you from being able to charge enough to stay in business. What are some of those factors – to start with is changing technology and how we communicate with one another. This is having a big affect on quality of photos needed and pricing (think selfies rather then professional portraits). You can also add on foreign competition (Photoshop work going to India or if they make it in China photograph it in China) and changing cultural values along with shifting economy to the mix (why not just go to Walmart for everything). Other factors can include an over supply of photographer (this has always been an issue but more so today), location, clients willing to use lots of bad photos (if everyone is using selfies who needs a professional portrait), less advertising dollars being spent (small business has cut way back), internalizing of service (I will get my assistant with her iPhone to shoot everything), fewer clients (especially in manufacturing), all lead to a downward spiral of price per photo. This is our current state.
I can tell you that in the last 40 years I have never seen such a flux and uncertainty happening in the this market place. All of this is having an effect on photography prices. So how much does a photograph of a piece of jewelry cost – everything is negotiable – lets talk about it.